First Amendment News

New coalition formed to provide legal muscle for public interest journalism

The Free Expression Legal Network has been launched to provide pro bono legal support for reporters. Twenty-two law school clinics have signed up along with two dozen law professors who conduct research and write on First Amendment issues. The network will promote collaboration in defending free speech and free press rights to help ensure that the public is informed and the government accountable. (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, September 4, 2019, press release)

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Reporter regains White House press pass

A federal district judge ruled that the White House could not suspend the press credentials of Playboy reporter Brian Karem. The judge said that the need for order did not surmount Karem’s First Amendment rights. Karem had engaged in a shouting match with a Trump aide in the Rose Garden. (USA TODAY, September 4, 2-19, by Jeanine Santucci) Karem argued that the his due process rights were violated in the incident, that he was allowed

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California law threatens newspaper business

California Assembly Bill 5, intended to improve the working conditions of gig workers, poses a serious threat to the news industry. The California Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that for workers to be classified as independent contractors, they could not provide services “central to a company’s core business.” If the bill passed, about 400,00 workers, including newspaper carriers, would be reclassified as employees. (Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2019, by Margot Roosevelt, Liam Dillon and

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First Amendment: Freshman congresswoman flagged for blocking Twitter users

The Knight Institute wrote Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admonishing her for blocking an ex-New York Assemblyman from her Twitter account. Ocasio-Cortez claimed she was not blocking Dov Hikind on the basis of content, but the Knight Institute wrote that she had established a public forum with her Twitter account and could not exercise viewpoint discrimination. (New York Post, August 29, 2019, by Natalie Musmeci) Hikind sued Ocasio-Cortez a month after a federal appeals court ruled that

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Virginia city cites free speech rights in suing to remove confederate statue

Norfolk, Virginia is suing in federal court to contest a state law prohibiting the removal of war monuments. Norfolk is basing its lawsuit on the First Amendment that the establishment of the statue was an act of free speech, and they had the right to change the speech by removing the statue. (Courthouse News Service, August 19, 2019, by Brad Kutner) Norfolk wants to remove the statue because they believe it represents white supremacy and

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